Match officials help protect the spirit of the game

It is the job of the on-field umpires to keep a check on such malpractices and act accordingly to the laws of the game © Getty Images

Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game – MCC Law of Cricket


Cricket has been called the ‘gentleman’s game’, since it gained popularity in the 17th century. It involved high level of sportsmanship, which required batsman to ‘walk’ if he was dismissed and fielders to signal to the umpires that it was a boundary hit despite a brilliant save.


Unfortunately, in the last few decades, cricket has become increasingly fast-paced and competitive, resulting in increase in the use of gamesmanship.


In such situations, the role of match officials has gained prominence, as they are responsible for conducting the game within the rules.


At times, players tend to lose their cool in the middle and resort to sledging and abusing their opponents. That’s where the on-field umpires have to intervene and see to it that order of the play is restored.


Sometimes, bowlers deliberately run on the important part of the pitch. It’s the job of the on-field umpires to keep a check on such malpractices and act accordingly to the laws of the game.


The umpire has the right to warn bowler twice and then suspend him from bowling following the repetition of the act for the third time.


On-field umpires also play a crucial role in keeping a check on illegal activities, like ball tampering and chucking.


At times, players disagrees with the on-field umpire about a decision and argue their case, the umpires can report it to the match referee.


Match referees, along with helping the on-field umpires with decision making, also play a role in maintaining the player’s conduct on the field


In the event of a player behaving in a manner which might bring the game into disrepute, match referee can intervene and take appropriate action leading from a fine to suspension for certain number of matches.


Recently, West Indies pacer Kemar Roach was fined for nudging Australian pacer Brett Lee twice during their fifth and final ODI on Sunday.


The match referee, Andy Pycroft, charged the 23-year-old for breaking the ICC’s Code of Conduct relating to “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play”.  


With the sport getting competitive with every passing day, it’s the responsibility of the match officials to safeguard and protect the spirit and traditions in which cricket is played.